What is prayer? It is the highest activity of which the human spirit is capable. Prayer is communion with God, who is so great, that He fills every corner of the universe. W.M. Gladstone, one time Prime Minister of Great Britain, said that “prayer is the highest exercise of the human intellect.” Burns, the Scottish poet said that “prayer is a correspondence fixed with heaven.” President Eisenhower, addressing a large crowd of college students, ended his 40 minute talk by saying, “Prayer is still the mightiest force in the world and, when used by dedicated men and women, nothing in this world remains impossible.” The Lord Jesus found it so. May we prove it to be so as well.
James Montgomery in his well known hymn said:
“Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed,
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear,
The upward glancing of an eye
When none but God is near.
Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try;
Prayer, the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on High.
Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,
The Christian’s native air;
His watch-word at the gates of death:
He enters heaven with prayer.
Prayer is a working force in a believer’s life. It is a dynamic rather than a doctrine.
Prayer’s Place in the Life of a Believer
1 Samuel 12:23 says, “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray.” It is sin to neglect our prayer life. All great men of God have been men of prayer. Luke 18:1 says, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” There would be fewer lean years and desert experiences if we “prayed without ceasing.” There would not be so many spiritual dwarfs among us, nor human wrecks and castaways on the rocks of time, had we prayed without ceasing. Nearly all our troubles could be traced to our failure or negligence in prayer. Prayer should be the pilot, pivot, perimeter, source, center, and circumference of our lives. Luke 11:1 says, “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he had ceased, one of his disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray.” We, teachers, must not shroud prayer in a robe of mysticism, but we must never make it too easy.
Conditions of Prayer
- According to Divine will
- In the Divine name
- In the Spirit
We all want to be successful in our service. One has said that the secret of success, in a scriptural sense, is to admit “Prayer is the fountain of all ministry, coordinate in importance with preaching, and the source of its power.” We should spend more time on our knees before God, than on our feet before men. If we are to be spiritual giants, and we ought to be, then we must be “men of prayer.”
Prayer’s Place in the Life of an Assembly
1 Timothy 2:1 says, “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplication, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” Acts 6:4 says, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and the ministry of the word.” Note the importance and the prominence given to prayer in the early church. Acts 1:14 shows us that in their tarrying for the fulfillment of the promise, “They all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” Acts 2:42 shows us that they continued steadfastly in prayer. Acts 4:31 says, “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” The result of this was a militant, triumphant, and irresistible church. The success of an assembly is assured if it is ruled by godly, praying elders, and composed of a fellowship of fervent prayer warriors/partners.
The Power of Prayer
One of the greatest tragedies in the Evangelical Church today is that we have negated the supernatural aspect of the Spirit’s work to a place of nonexistence. We have lost the vision of W. Carey whose motto was “Ask great things of God and expect great things from God.”
- The Sabet Family: Conversion-Trials-Baby-Girl-Boy-Vietnam
- 30th January (Donna Lindsay, The Andersons, Barbara Cormack, Al Veldoan)
- 6th February (Elane Kerr)
- 15th February (Betty Bius)
- 19th February (Sherry Hester)
Men in every age have stormed the battlements of heaven with unshakable confidence. The evidence of their victories lies all around. Shall we in our generation do less?
Summation and Challenge
Why are so many conflicts in our lives and assemblies left unresolved? Why are so many potential victories turned into defeat? Why are we, the possessors of supernatural force, often the victims of our own weakness and frailty? It is because: (1) we have grown apathetic in our prayer life. (2) We have become self-sufficient entities. We need nothing. (3) In our spiritual pride we have become carnal morons. We need a vision. Where there is no vision, the people perish. We need to rediscover the potential, the dynamic, the supernatural character of our faith; we need to know the forces that can be unleashed by the effectual fervent prayers of righteous men.
Consider 2 Kings 6:15-17. Verse15 says, “Alas, my master! How shall we do?” Then in verse 17 we find the prayer, “Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw.” Our eyes need anointing with the eye salve of heaven. The challenge can be found in Malachi 3:10, which says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”